Dallas-based nVenue—whose sports betting platform uses machine learning and AI to create “next play” probabilities and micro-bets for fans watching live—was selected by the NBA last March for second installment of NBA Launchpad, an initiative to source, evaluate, and pilot emerging technologies that advance the NBA’s top priorities on and off the court.
The NBA must have liked what it saw, because NBA Equity has taken an equity stake in nVenue, the startup announced Wednesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The investment reinforces the NBA’s commitment to innovation and offering fans new, exciting, responsible gaming opportunities, nVenue said. As part of the transaction, Scott Kaufman-Ross, head of gaming and new business ventures at the NBA, has joined nVenue as a board observer.
Driving ‘incremental fan engagement’
“Micro-betting presents an opportunity to drive incremental fan engagement within the live game,” Kaufman-Ross said in a statement. “As a fast-paced sport with constant action, the NBA requires a unique approach to providing opportunities that are both contextual and personalized to how our fans are consuming the game. We are excited to roll up our sleeves with a company like nVenue, with its innovative tech and a great team, to explore this opportunity.”
nVenue CEO Kelly Pracht noted that currently available markets and betting offerings” leave a gap in in-play options that are well-suited for the NBA’s pace of game.”
“We’re honored that the league selected nVenue to collaborate, design, and deliver a new approach to micro-betting for the NBA fan,” Pracht added in a statement.
In addition to its existing NBA product, nVenue said it plans to deliver a “refreshed take” on micro-betting markets prepped for betting operators both domestically and internationally.
One such micro-bet is built on basketball’s “game of runs,” with a bet centered on the next team to reach 15-point increments. Another micro-bet is based on which team will have the most points in a 4-minute game segment, while another couldn’t be simpler: whether that next free throw will go in or not.
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